Like the Soulsborne series, I don’t know if I would classify Nioh 2 as a hard game, but it can certainly make you question things. When doing my first cycle, there were some bosses and situations that I had issues getting past and other ones that made me question whether this was even a challenging game. This cycle was largely due to me misunderstanding certain elements or failing to do specific things, which I decided to turn into a guide to help others.
Editor’s Note: This is a general guide and designed more to help you cope with the mechanics over beating any specific part of Nioh 2. For most bosses, please check our guides for more tips and tricks.
Skills that envelop your weapon are the best ways to level certain skill trees
One of the first mistakes new players make is focusing on practical powers and abilities. These are things like faster ki regeneration, health regeneration or ways to separate enemies. Naturally, I wouldn’t be surprised if your initial item line up was an elixir, sacred water, shurikens and things of the like. All of these items certainly have a time and place, but some of the best tactics involve using ninja and onmyo magic to create new opportunities. Unlocking things like the additional health from elixirs, more sacred water time and other practical skills can seem like an uphill battle, though you get an insane amount of progress by simply coating your weapon with something and killing enemies. By doing this you’ll get more progress, unlock better skills and work towards being a master of everything Nioh 2 has to offer.
Pay attention to every benefit and negative equipment offers
Sometimes it’s easy to get tunnel vision when looking at the wide array of items in Nioh 2. There are up to seven perks, gear set benefits, a modification system, elements, fixed and flexible skills, resistance benefits, additional toughness, weight, and even an attack and defense element. Often times I paid attention to everything and tried to round out my build to match my tactic, shortcomings and more. A great example of this was my struggles with the other realms.
It doesn’t matter how easy the boss or enemies are, reducing my ki recovery rate was often enough to vastly decrease my ability to slay yokai. Both they and I knew this, so if I had two pieces of gear, one that offered 100 defense and another with 97 but the latter had that ability, I would take that one as I would likely get more out of better recovery than three defense. This holds true for everything, so don’t be afraid to change often.
Use every tool at your disposal
Early on I avoided ranged weapons because there was no sustainable way to get arrows, bullets, and cannonballs other than buying them with divine rice. This wasn’t practical, at least early on, especially if you’re stuck somewhere. Between cups for summons, elixirs, sacred water and more, something has to give and for me, it was ranged weapons. For better or worse, you eventually have to fight a number of ranged enemies and they’re just easier to kill with an arrow than even take a hit. The sooner you realize you’re best off shooting them, the better. This holds true for every item in Nioh 2. Remember, it doesn’t help you if you never use it and it doesn’t matter if it has more value later if you can’t get past something now.
You can actually avoid most fights
As hard as it might be to believe, most enemies are not overly concerned with killing you. More often than not, I found I was able to run past challenging or annoying foes and simply get to the location I wanted to without much time or effort wasted. In some ways it makes your struggle seem pointless, but it’s great for bosses with enemies before them or just not wanting to risk extremely tricky fights to items you died with back. This also leads to my next and arguably most important piece of advice.
Open as many shortcuts as possible
Unless you have great skills and are extremely good at everything Nioh 2 has to offer, you’re going to want to open every shortcut. Most of them exist as a checkpoint of sorts so you don’t need to fight 10 or 20 enemies to get to the next location. Some of these are fairly well hidden but the best advice will always just go some of the weird directions and open them up. More often than not it will save you or make it easier to explore more challenging sections or areas without dying.